Military ‘guarded’ on peace negotiations


THE military is treating the ceasefire and peace talks with communist rebels with “guarded optimism” and hoping that there shall be fruitful negotiations between the two parties, a military official said on Wednesday.

At the same time, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman, said the military is also hopeful that the Communist Party of the Philippines, its political arm National Democratic Front (NDF) and its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA) will share the government’s aspiration to attain peace for the sake of all Filipinos.

Padilla describes as acceptable the response of the communists to the Duterte administration’s peace initiatives and the AFP, according to him, is looking forward for more positive developments as the talks progress.

He assured that the military is in full support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s quest for lasting peace in the country.

Padilla said since the President made the ceasefire declaration during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, there was no single fighting between the communist rebels and government forces.

If this development will continue, “then we are in the right path to start the formal talks,” the AFP official added.

Padilla said the military would rather not discuss full details of the suspension of military operations (SOMO) declared by the AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Ricardo Visaya, against the communist rebels because it would be among the issues to be tackled when the formal peace negotiations start.

“The road to peace is a very challenging effort to both sides, so we will do everything to make the talks a success,” he added.

On Tuesday, the AFP announced that Visaya had ordered all commanders of unified commands, major services and AFP-wide service support units to observe the SOMO against the communist rebels.

The SOMO ordered the cessation of all military offensives against the CPP, NDF and the NPA, “including the conduct of combat maneuvers that may be construed as provocative acts that may be deemed [to be in violation]of the SOMO,” he said on July 25.


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